The agreements were announced after a virtual summit between Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and India’s Narendra Modi.
“India is committed to strengthening relations with Australia extensively and expeditiously. This is important not only for our two nations, but also for the Indo-Pacific region and the world,” Modi said.
“We are committed to an open, inclusive, prosperous Indo-Pacific, and our region will be critical of India’s role in that region in the years to come,” Morrison added.
The new packets, known as the Australia-India Mutual Logistics Support Arrangement and the Defense Science and Technology Implementation System, are included in the South China Sea as military tensions escalate in the Indo-Pacific region, where China continues to strengthen its position on the disputed island.
A joint statement issued after the summit said the two countries “shared the vision of a free, open, inclusive and rule-based Indo-Pacific region to support freedom of navigation, over-flight and peaceful and cooperative use of the sea.”
The agreement promises to deepen military integration between the two countries through more complex exercises and allows them to enter each other’s bases for logical assistance.
South China Sea
China claims all of the 1.3 million square miles of the South China Sea as its own, despite other claims that it has borders near disputed waters. In 2016, a tribunal in The Hague found no legal basis for China to claim historic historic rights to much of the South China Sea.
According to the Low-Institute, Australia has a long-standing security relationship with the United States and has maintained a long-term presence in the South China Sea since 1960, conducting airborne surveillance patrols.
Last year, U.S. warships joined the U.S., Japanese, and Philippine navies in a transit in the South China Sea.
India, meanwhile, has been increasing defense cooperation with the United States, including the annual Malabar Naval Exercise, which brings together the Japanese self-defense forces as well as the US and Indian military forces.
Barry O’Farrell, the Australian High Commissioner to India, said in an interview last month that Canberra was interested in joining the Malabar exercise, but no invitation was extended.
The signing came on Thursday amid rising tensions on the Indo-China border in the Himalayas.
Last month, the army suffered minor injuries as a result of an aggressive cross-border clash between the Chinese and Indian armies. The incident has been followed by denied reports of tensions in the highlands in recent weeks, although neither side has publicly acknowledged anything outside of the general.
CNN’s Angus Watson, Ishav Madhabendra and Ben Westcott contributed to this report.